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    Latex allergy -Need help
    deluxehd posted:
    I was just diagnosed with a latex allergy. All the information is a little overwhelming to say the least. If anyone could provide some help with: what to avoid, products that work and where to find. I would greatly appreciate it.

    Thank you
    FrGeof responded:
    Good Evening Debbie.

    I too have a latex allergy, I agree that it can be overwhelming at first but it's going to be okay. There are a few support groups around on Yahoo Groups and Facebook with others of us who have survived this allergy daily for years and years. So I promise, it's going to be okay.

    The current standard in latex lists is maintained by the Spina Bifida Association.

    Another good resource is the American Latex Allergy Association.

    Remember that the only way to protect yourself from this allergy is avoidance of natural rubber latex, so be safe out there.

    deluxehd replied to FrGeof's response:
    Thank you very much Geof.

    I had already found the American Latex Allergy Association. The Spina Bifida link is very helpful.

    I hadn't even thought of a support group but will look into that.

    I found out I have the allergy thru the ELISA blood test. Didn't have any clue that latex was a problem. But now I am able to piece things together. The latex contact is triggering asthma symptoms and possibly a rash not at the contact sight, very wierd.

    Thank you again.
    FrGeof replied to deluxehd's response:
    I was first diagnosed at University when I started having this weird rash. I was told by the University's Doctor to simply "avoid the gloves and keep elastic away from you." I was never fully serious about my sensitivity at the time and didn't have any knowledge about cross-reactivity or other sources of latex in the environment.

    Ten years ago I ended up in the ER and when I mentioned my Latex allergy, the Nurse got very excited and handed over a single page of "new" information and that's the first I learned of the cross-reactive foods list - at the time it listed five or six foods (it's dozens now). I knew that I needed more information and ended up falling into a Yahoo Group NRLA support group that has really helped me figure out how to live day to day with this allergy.. lately we've mostly moved to a private group on Facebook to cut down on the spam. (If you, or any other latex allergy survivor, wants an invite you can look me up over there..)

    Over the past few years we worked hard to limit my exposure, creating a safe home where latex products and foods are simply not allowed. To complicate matters, my wife works in the Health Care industry - so I've had countless exposures over the years from Latex particles hitching a ride home on her scrubs. (One latex glove snap creates airborne latex particles that can take up to eight hours to settle!) A year ago I could handle my reactions with a Benedryl or two (...then three or four..), never wanting to use the Epinephrine I have carried for years, then I had to add Ventolin as the Bronchospasms got worse, but the reactions started getting closer together and stronger, so that now one whiff of a balloon or latex glove or rubber band and I get to enjoy anaphylaxis, a stab in the leg from the Epi auto-injector and a visit to the ER. The Tax Office has tried to kill me four times now because they handle their mail with latex finger cots.. latex particles end up on the tag bills and then I open up the envelope and get puffed in the face with those latex particles and I'm off to the ER. My reactions are so bad that I now have a Service Dog who alerts me when he smells latex in the environment so I can put on a filter mask and escape the area - hopefully preventing the ER visit.

    Latex Allergy is covered under the ADA so you can request reasonable accommodations at work if you need to. My office even had a "Latex Scavenger Hunt" complete with prizes for those who found the most hidden latex, they switched to non-latex office supplies (there are non-latex replacements for those rubber bands, finger cots, and rubber stamps!) and even had the cleaning crew switch to non-latex gloves.

    My past few exposures were a bunch of hidden balloons at the Credit Union, a birthday party that walked into a restaurant, a cook who wore latex gloves while cutting up lemons that I squeezed onto a lovely piece of fish I was eating, and a group of teachers who had a pizza party with balloons who hours later met me at our Chiropractor's office. Each time my Service Dog alerted me, and so I was able to limit my exposure and still had enough mental capacity left to use the Epinephrine and get to the ER for a visit. (Yes, we're now on a first name basis with all four shifts there..)

    I don't tell you this to scare you, not all Latex Allergies progress this far and some people only react with rashes and hives. I want to warn you, and anyone else who has this Allergy, to learn everything you can and be as proactive about limiting your exposure as possible. The only prevention we have is strict avoidance. The less you get exposed the slower the Latex Allergy will progress and the safer you will be.

    Good Luck and Keep Breathing.
    deluxehd replied to FrGeof's response:
    Thank you, thank you for posting. Your information doesn't scare me, it confirms what I have been experiencing. When touching something containing latex, my reactions have increased in intensity, are quicker and last longer. I also carry an EpiPen and allergy meds. My asthma is also triggered by medications and foods, among many other things. I did see a list of cross-reactive foods on American Latex Allergy Association.

    My husband is a mechanic and he wears latex gloves at work. We have talked about him switching to non-latex.

    I really appreciate you sharing your story. I wasn't aware of a service dog for latex. I am so glad that you have him/her to keep you safe. I don't know if I am reacting to airbourne latex or just contact. I do wear a medical mask when I leave the house and for right now will wear gloves.

    Yesterday we found out that I can't touch the keys to my vehicle. It has a security chip in it, so we are trying to figure out what to do. I am going to try wearing cloth gloves.

    My health has kept me from working for 3 1/2 yrs and I still hope to be well enough to return. The latex allergy has caused a bump in the road right now.

    I sent you a request on Facebook and look forward to joining the group. Thank you so much again. Take care.
    LaurieLeigh responded:
    Hi Debbie, how are you? I hope you are well. I've just recently encountered this problem so I've been researching online and came across this post. I hope you are using organic cotton clothes and underwear now because they're latex free. I highly recommend Cottonique, you can find them on their products are completely natural, organic and latex-free. I hope this helps. Good luck and I wish you all the best!

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